Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

UFC 278 results: Luke Rockhold loses blood-and-guts war to Paulo Costa, indicates he’s done fighting

Luke Rockhold may not have had the gas tank Saturday in Salt Lake City – but he certainly had the heart.

In the UFC 278 middleweight co-main event, Rockhold (16-6 MMA, 6-5 UFC) lost to Paulo Costa (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) at Vivint Arena.

The bout was blood-and-guts, with each man’s heart on full display. After Costa was named the winner, an emotional Rockhold indicated the war likely will be his final fight.

“I’ve been through so much the last few years,” Rockhold, a gloveless said as tears flowed. “I f*cking … thank you, fighting. Thank you, UFC. Thank you, Joe (Rogan). I f*cking can’t do this sh*t any more. I gave it my all. I just didn’t … I’m f*cking old.”

Rockhold, 37, had not competed in a little more than three years prior to UFC 278 – and hadn’t won in five. If UFC 278 turns out to be his final fight, he’ll have finished with four losses in his last five fights.

A former Strikeforce and UFC champion, Rockhold was a key member in the rise of American Kickboxing Academy (AKA). He holds wins over numerous UFC notables including Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida, Michael Bisping and Ronaldo Souza.

Entering UFC 278, a disgruntled Rockhold openly criticized the UFC for a number of issues including fighter pay and healthcare. UFC president Dana White later called the complaints “gibberish.”

The fight itself was action-packed from the start, as Costa came out strong with some big strikes before he secured a takedown. Rockhold returned to the feet, noticeably exhausted with blood pouring out his nose. Rockhold breathed heavy in and out of his mouth, but found success with single-strike combinations. At the end of Round 1, Rockhold crouched down and put his hands on his knees – beat tired.

The second round began and Rockhold came out guns blazing. He found some success with his body kicks and even though his volume decreased, his accuracy increased. A low blow by Costa halted the action briefly. Rockhold only used about 90 seconds of the allotted five minutes, though caught some of his win during that short time.

In Round 3, Rockhold dug deep. On the brink of exhaustion, he still found the strength to scream expletives at Costa before landing his most rocking punch of the fight. After a wobbly Costa scored a takedown, Rockhold reverses position. Both men bleed all over each other, magnified by Rockhold purposely smearing the layer of blood all over Costa. The crowd exploded at the conclusion of the fight.

The victory is Costa’s first in three years, though only his third fight in that period of time. He entered UFC 278 on the heels of back-to-back losses to Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori.

As for Rockhold, the fight was his first in three years and extended his losing skid to three. His most recent win came in September 2017 when he defeated David Branch by TKO. Since then, he’s lost four of five appearances with knockout defeats in each.

By Chala Dandessa

I am Lecturer, Researcher and Freelancer. I am the founder and Editor at ETHIOPIANS TODAY website. If you have any comment use caalaadd2@gmail.com as email contact. Additionally you can contact us through the contact page of www.ethiopianstoday.com.

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